"Let Every Arm Be Steel…"

>We’re nearing the end of season two of FANTASTIC FORUM. I was working Thursday and Saturday of last week with our fantastic editor on Episode #25 (African Americans and African American Portrayals in American Comics). This episode is of particular importance to me as I am an African American. Well, I actually prefer the term, American Black to African American. But the reasons for that are more appropriate for a different blog.

This particular episode came together quite well considering the challenges involved in getting it in the can. The interview with comic artist, Kyle Baker, was conducted at the 2008 Baltimore Comic Convention. The discussion portion of the program was taped in August 2009. The feature on The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention was put together from a shoot at that event in May of 2010. Raw footage of the various elements remained in storage in the Fantastic Forum video library vault until last week when they were assembled into the final product.

I hadn’t seen the discussion portion since digitizing the footage in preparation for the non-linear editing process. I had to watch it again on Saturday morning in order to compose a list of the graphics that needed to be inserted in the discussion segment. I’d have taken care of that on Friday except we had to get the family Christmas tree and then I worked on the live broadcast of a fellow producer’s show Friday night.

I’m very pleased with the final product. The editor and I are scheduled to meet on Monday to add the credits, convert the show into a digital file and burn it onto a DVD. Then we’re on to Episode #26 which is also the season two finale. It has been a long road.

Production of Fantastic Forum continues to be a learning process. But the product continues to improve steadily. The more involved the production becomes the greater commitment of time it has demanded. When Episode #14 was completed back in October 2009 my hope was that the season two shows would all air by January 2011. That hasn’t turned out to be the case. But we’ve grown along the way.

I’ve long had some ideas to improve the show that I’ll implement for season three. We’ll have 3-D motion graphics and an upgraded set. You’ll see some new faces among our panel. And we’re looking to make a bigger splash in the field as we attend more conventions and interact with and engage comic, sci-fi and fantasy fans. And we’ll be trying to engage the industry to a greater degree, too. The discussion topics will represent contemporary and somtimes intensely controversial issues that fans will find thought provoking and compelling. This thing isn’t for the faint of heart. Let no heart be faint and every arm be steel as we move forward into 2011!


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